10 startups web designers should watch in 2017

The future of the web is going to be here sooner than you think. Here are the sci-fi style web startups we’ve got our beady eye on right now.

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If you think your work as a web designer is complicated enough right now, we have some news: you ain’t seen nothing yet. New technologies like facial recognition, the internet of things, VR, machine learning, AI and more are going to expand the scope of the web in the next few years in ways we can’t yet imagine.

But in a dynamic market of ideas, help is always available, and new startups are springing up all over the place to help web designers and developers manage and exploit these new technologies.

Here we’ve brought together 10 of the most intriguing startups that have come to our attention recently. Of course, we’re sure we’ve missed some, so if there’s a kickass startup you feel the community should know about, please share the details in the comments below!

01. Kairos

Kairios can help web owners read people’s minds, via their facial expressions

Kairos calls itself a “human analytics platform”. In a nutshell, its APIs and SDKs make it easy to integrate facial analysis into any mobile or web app. So, for example, you might want to use it to develop ways to track the eyes of a visitor to your website, or read their emotions as they focus on certain parts of your content. Space-age stuff, but very much the future of what people like Peter Smart are calling the ‘emotional web’ (see his talk at Generate San Francisco for more on that).

02. Payoneer

Payoneer helps you get paid, whatever the country

With more and more ecommerce websites operating in hundreds of diverse markets, Payoneer aims to make it easier to get paid by multiple customers in multiple countries. Its payment platform enables you to transfer funds quickly, securely and at low cost to more than 200 countries and regions in over 150 currencies. Users are given the flexibility of choosing how to receive their funds, via the method that best suits them best.

03. Headspin

Headspin lets you test your apps on hundreds of mobile networks across the world

The more geographically and technologically diverse the world gets, the more testing your app becomes a massive headache. Headspin allows you to test on 1,152 real cell networks in 72 cities and 29 countries without adding any code. Its aim is to help you understand why they behave differently under different conditions, such as on Wi-Fi versus mobile, or low or no connectivity. Headspin then analyses user experience based on “algorithmic and expert intelligence” to find and fix issues people are having with your apps.

04. OverOps

OverOps aims to speed up debugging significantly

OverOps uses big data tech to help devs debug their cloud apps. Their aim is to help you understand when and why your production code breaks without having to search through logs. In their words: “OverOps detects when production code breaks and delivers teams the source code and variable state that caused it.” There are testimonials on their site from Zynga, Tripadvisor and Nielsen, so it sounds like they’re doing something right.

05. Hologram

Make things for the internet with the Hologram platform

We all know about the Internet of Things, but have you considered making your own ‘things’ to connect to the web? Hologram has built a platform for doing just that developing and deploying Internet of Things products. With its cellular development kit, the Dash, it promises that you can create a new connected device “in minutes”. Then use Hologram to talk to your devices, route incoming and outgoing messages, and open up secure PPP sessions, via a secure and scalable API. 

06. UniFly

Will UniFly save us from multiple crashing drones?

Drones are a rapidly expanding area of the economy right now, with web giants like Amazon testing them out as a way of replacing delivery drivers. But we’ll soon reach a point where there’s too many in the sky to be safe, particularly as they’re too small to be detected by traditional air traffic control radar. So Unifly, a spin-off of the Flemish Institute for Technological Research, has developed a cloud platform (no pun intended) that will safely manage drone traffic and help operators to find safe and legal airspace to fly in.

07. Otonomo

Otonomo connects the web of cars to the wider world

While self-driving cars have been the big story of 2016, a perhaps more significant development has been the almost ubiquitous connectivity of new cars generally to the internet. That’s going to offer big opportunities to web firms, and so Otonomo is developing a cloud-based platform that will connect service providers and app developers with modern, web-savvy vehicles. 

08. Minio

Minio is taking on the might of Amazon S3

Minio is creating an open source, scalable system of cloud storage designed for developers and cloud apps. The idea is to provide a simpler alternative to Amazon S3 that’s still compatible with Amazon’s services (it’s based on Amazon S3 v4 APIs). Written in Go, the main attractions of the system are that’s it’s free and, above all, simple. “Minio is deeply influenced by minimalism,” it’s creators say. “We believe that only simple things scale.”

09. Remote Year

Take a working holiday as a digital nomad with Remote Year

Your skills as a web designer means you can work anywhere in the world. So why don’t you? Remote Working is a Chicago startup aimed at to help people travel the world while still working at their job. Participants pay a $5,000 deposit and $2,000 per month to take part in the program, which covers travel expenses, accommodations, workspace and community activities. You’ll join a group of 75 “digital nomads” and spend a year working, traveling, and exploring 12 cities around the world.

10. Proov

Could Proov revolutionise the way startups do business?

Proov is a startup that wants to make it easier for large enterprises to try out new, innovative startup technologies; what’s been dubbed a “Pilot-as-a-Service platform”. The idea is that big firms can run multiple pilots at once, within a secure, cloud testing environment, and find out what works best for them. Could this change the way startups operate and connect with big business in a radical way? We can’t wait to find out.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design and technology. He was previously associate editor at Creative Bloq and deputy editor at net magazine, the world's best-selling magazine for web designers. Over two decades in journalism he's worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella.